The therapy group of four men and one woman is a ludicrous gathering of overacted wackos who should be in solitary therapy if not solitary confinement.

COLOR OF NIGHT

A Illusion review by Joan Ellis.


If a group of disparate filmmakers fired their director and made a movie by committee, you would have "Color of Night."

One committee member wants a psychodrama and sets the plot: Psychoanalyst Dr. Bill Capa (Bruce Willis) watches a patient dive out of his office window. Carrying his guilt to Los Angeles to get away from it all, he is asked by his friend and colleague Dr. Bob Moore (Scott Bakula) to join his weekly therapy group. It's all very 90s.

Another committee member wants to push the envelope on sex: hetero, bi, gay, S&M and underwater acrobatic coupling. (Will Bruce Willis' toupee stay on when it's wet?). Collectively and astutely, the committee realizes that, with action actor Willis on the team, they better make same action: Every time Dr. Capa jumps in his car, his stalker plays bumper tag with him on the streets of L.A.. Three violent car chases create some standard nail-biting.

Someone in the therapy group is terminally angry at Dr. Capa. You might feel homicidal too if you had to listen to a doctor who is seated in an enormous leather baseball glove, surrounded by glass and abstract art, in a stainless steel office. The killer within carries his/her nasty feelings outside the group and powers the movie with chains, daggers, self- mutilation, crucifixion, and, yes, a nail gun.

The film committee agrees unanimously that therapy has had its time in the sun and should take a hit: The therapy group of four men and one woman is a ludicrous gathering of overacted wackos who should be in solitary therapy if not solitary confinement. In this group, everyone has a violent secret, and the therapist drives to his patients' homes for a little personal investigation. In a culture that has already turned on doctors and lawyers, therapists, it seems, are now being dethroned.

The movie loses any shot at credibility by turning everyone who is looking for help into some variant of a psycho-demon. Everything and everybody is caricature. Is a melodrama (thunderstorms), a murder yarn (daggers), a drama (wild eyes), an action thriller (cars) a spoof? As a spoof, it wouldn't have been all bad, but no one working in this film had a spoof in mind. Poor Bruce Willis has tried to take a personal leap forward with a departure from his norm, a bridge between action and serious stuff. Alas, even with a good script, Willis's weak, high voice could not a therapist make. The actor has been quoted as saying, "It was a little confusing having to do a whole movie without a gun in my hand." Yes, I guess so.

For the first hour, the audience is bombarded with information that contains no clues that might engage them in the puzzle--no clues, no participation, no fun. The problem here is that this movie did indeed have a director, Richard Rush, who must have gone out to get coffee for his committee and stayed out for lunch.


Film Critic: JOAN ELLIS
Word Count: 499
Studio: Cinergi Pictures
Rating: R 2h


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